Gosar censured, stripped from committees over threatening video

The House on Wednesday voted 223-207 to censure Arizona Republican Paul Gosar and remove him from his committee roles for posting an animated video that depicted him killing New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an action he has refused to acknowledge as inappropriate.

Two Republicans joined all Democrats to force Gosar off of the Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources panels and take the rare act of censuring him, which is reserved for “more serious violations” and a step below expulsion. One Republican, Ohio’s David Joyce, voted present.

The only two Republicans who voted to discipline Gosar were the only two GOP members of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack: Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair, and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger. Both have become outcasts within their party for criticizing former President Donald Trump’s behavior and rhetoric.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the rebuke as Gosar stood in the chamber’s well to receive his public shaming. Gosar stood without a mask looking up at Pelosi as she read the censure resolution. He was flanked in the well by several Republicans, including Reps. Andrew Clyde and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year for several instances of misconduct, including liking a Facebook comment in 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Pelosi from the speakership. The last member censured by the House before Gosar was New York Democrat Charles B. Rangel in 2010 for a string of ethical violations, and prior to that, the most recent cases were in the early 1980s.

It was an unprecedented move to strip Gosar of his committee assignments and censure him in the same action.

Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole, the ranking member of the Rules panel, said the action “tramples on the traditional norms of the House” by having the majority party remove a member of the minority party from their committees. He said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took action by calling Gosar to tell him the video was inappropriate, which led to Gosar deleting the video and issuing a statement.

On the floor Wednesday, McCarthy sought to cast Democrats as the violent ones.

The theme of the California Republican’s speech was “rules for thee but not for me,” in which he made several incongruent comparisons. “Democrats want to change the rules but refuse to apply them to their own caucus,” he said.

McCarthy referenced several instances that were not examples of a member calling for violence against another member. He mentioned a time when California Democrat Maxine Waters was not formally reprimanded for comments she made during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. Democrats defeated a measure to censure her for telling protesters that if Chauvin was acquitted they should “get more confrontational.”

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